On 14th March, Miroslav Barta confirmed the ealier reports presented below. The situation has continued to deteriorate:
- Upto 200 illegal excavations, some up to 8m deep to raid tomb chambers
- The tomb of Rahotepa was raided and the false door taken. Over secured tombs have been targetted
- The Czech magazine was raided, items stolen and the remainder vandalised and trashed.
Although the army arrived, they have not secured the site and the latest on site report of 10th March is escalating looting:
The German mission is here working in Umm el Qa’ab which accounts for the army presence. Apart from them “guarding” the Germans they have had ZERO impact on the looting. Now I am finding plastered and decorated tomb chambers opened and destroyed, (beautiful geometric designs in monochrome as well as multi colour) smashed grave pots and dismembered mummies intermingle with segments of plaster laying scattered and discarded over the sands. I have made inquiries and the southern section of the plain has suffered just as badly as the Northern section. Down there you have the 12th and 18th dynasty complexes and city remains as well as tombs of the 1st and 2nd dynasty nobility. If this continues there will be nothing here for researchers and archaeologists, it will be a baron sea of undulating red pot shards like the red desert to the north.
There are confirmed reports from Abydos ( I have received confirmation from an archaeologist):
Every day I see evidence of illegal digging. The remains of mummies now litter the plain. 3/4 days ago 10 armed raiders entered the American mission house in Abydos and looted it. Police were frightened off by gun fire from the raiders. What the looters made off with is unknown and it is also unknown whether they gain access to the newly built restoration/storage rooms.
And on 22nd February:
I am sad to say the looting continues unabated and unchallenged in Abydos. Everyday more and more tombs are opened, ransacked and the mummy remains are everywhere. The gangs of looters are getting more bold and are now digging into tombs along the sacred way in full view of the American mission house. Vast areas are being cleared in the search for secondary burials which hints at someone with excavation experience working with or directing one of the gangs. What has been happening in the 18th and 12th Dynasty sections to the south I do not know as I do not have occasion to go down there but in the northern section of the plain as many as 10 tombs a night are being opened.
These reports were confirmed by Dr Hawass on 3rd March, although he gave few details:
Looters have attacked Abydos nearly every night; illegal excavations and trenches, some as deep as five meters, have damaged the site.
Kom el Sultan
During the week commencing Monday 7th February, local villagers heard digging within the walls of Kom Sultan and chased away a car load of looters.